Arian Foster in Pro Bowl 'heaven'

First meeting an eye-opener

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shakes hands with Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) after the Texans' 34-24 win in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, in Houston.

Photo by AP Photo / Dave Einsel

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shakes hands with Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) after the Texans' 34-24 win in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, in Houston.

Arian Foster

Arian Foster

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Arian Foster usually gets where he's going in a hurry - at least on the football field.

This week, the first-time Pro Bowl selection is in no hurry.

Houston's All-Pro running back was one of the last players to leave the practice field Thursday as he posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted at length with reporters.

Foster is one of 35 first-timers selected for today's NFL all-star game, including 23 from the AFC. The most is when 44 first-timers were selected to the game in 2000, including 26 from the NFC.

And it's usually not difficult to spot a first-timer. Besides being the last off the field, they're also the ones that look like they've had too much sun - but still grinning ear to ear.

"You have no choice but to enjoy Hawaii. You've got a problem if you don't," said Foster, a former Tennessee Vol. "This is like heaven. I'll die and go to Hawaii. That's all right with me."

The 24-year-old Foster earned a spot by going from undrafted member of the Texans' practice squad to the league's leading rusher with 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Foster said it first sunk in that he was among the NFL's all-stars when he saw AFC teammates such as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Baltimore Ravens linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs at the first meeting.

"When you just see them, it's just surreal," he said. "(Then) you kind of realize they have the same amount of respect for you as you do for them. That makes it all worth it."

The new Pro Bowlers generally take guidance from the veterans as far as how to act, where to go and what to eat. But they really don't know what to expect on game day.

"I have no clue. This is my first rodeo. I don't know if these guys are really going to come out and try to hit hard," Foster said.

While Foster made his first trip in his second year in the league, others have had to wait much longer, like Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli, who is in his eighth season and will start for the NFC.

"I'm loving it. For years, and years and years, I've been trying to get here," he said. "It took eight years, but now that I've got it, I don't want to let it go."

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Comments » 10

jimr07 writes:

Congrats Arian.

stompintheswamp2 writes:

Congratulations Arian. WOW, to think we were about to give up on you. Sorry no changes were made to the program sooner in your college career.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to stompintheswamp2:

Congratulations Arian. WOW, to think we were about to give up on you. Sorry no changes were made to the program sooner in your college career.

??? changes ??? Arian played every year he was there and ended up 2nd all time. Are you suggesting he should have played less ??? If so you're nuts. He was a solid back at UT.

clvolfan writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes,he's getting coached up.Just shows that he had the talent at UT.Too bad he didn't play for a winner.

coastal_vol writes:

i LOVE this guy and his story. undrafted, then practice squad, then gets his first start and immediately fumbles, then gets cut, then gets resigned to practice squad, and then the NFL LEADING RUSHER. why he has not received more national press is anyone's guess...i dunno. and by the way, i drafted him in the 5th round for my fantasy squad and my team crushed as a result. go arian...you deserve it my man.

stompintheswamp2 writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

??? changes ??? Arian played every year he was there and ended up 2nd all time. Are you suggesting he should have played less ??? If so you're nuts. He was a solid back at UT.

Coaching changes. Were you sleeping his Sr. year? Arian was not his self, no passion, no drive, ran out of bounds instead of fighting for more, etc It's not his fault, the team had a chronic "complacency culture" which peaked his Sr. year, therefore an earlier coaching change probably would have made his Sr. year much more productive. Instead, Arian's Sr. year almost cost him a professional football career. Thankfully, it worked out for him.

rdrgtr writes:

I think it will probably take many years for UT fans to realize how good he was at UT. He played in an era of with very few celebrations. He is finally getting his due. A person cannot achieve what he has without alot of hard work and dedication. We are proud of you and I speak for the vol nation in saying that.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to stompintheswamp2:

Coaching changes. Were you sleeping his Sr. year? Arian was not his self, no passion, no drive, ran out of bounds instead of fighting for more, etc It's not his fault, the team had a chronic "complacency culture" which peaked his Sr. year, therefore an earlier coaching change probably would have made his Sr. year much more productive. Instead, Arian's Sr. year almost cost him a professional football career. Thankfully, it worked out for him.

You nailed it. Arian admitted as much early in the season. He had to rededicate to the game after his senior season. Got a trainer and got himself in great shape with the fire necessary to make a name for himself and his team. Just a kid at the time, who later decided to become a man.

Congrats Arian!

stompintheswamp2 writes:

in response to bankofdad3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not buying it. Fumbles are one thing, heart and desire are another. The man lost his heart and desire his senior year. To me, that's on the coaches. After all, we are talking about an NFL pro-bowler.

OrangeJuiced writes:

Congratulations, Arian! We're proud of you and wish you great success.

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